The Rubin file Featured

8:00pm EDT June 25, 2007

Age: 67

Born: Evanston, Ill.

Education: Bachelor of science degree, radio, television and film, Northwestern University

Fun fact about Rubin: He aspired to become an actor prior to moving into advertising, studying in Northwestern’s highly regarded drama program. His Northwestern classmates included actresses Ann-Margret and Paula Prentiss, and sportscaster Brent Musburger.

What is the best business lesson you’ve learned?

I am in this position not because I am the brightest, but because I care about people, and if nothing else, RPA is a confederation of people.

What traits or skills are essential for a business leader?

I’m going to use the word ‘communication.’ I went to Northwestern to become an actor, or as they called them in L.A., waiters.

Northwestern has a great school of drama, and when you consider the other people that were in that school with me, I was a tadpole. But what it taught me was poise, posture, and how to communicate in words, sounds and animation.

Looking back, even though I didn’t end up in acting, my academic background wasn’t for naught. In business, you have to be able to communicate in multiple ways through the spoken and written word.

What is a universal truth you’ve learned about leading a business?

Consistency is very important. I need to come in with the same emotional temperament every day because if I don’t, an associate will detect that something is amiss. It’s knowing that you have an abundance of control over your own destiny, and if I behave irregularly, I can compromise my destiny.

I am cognizant of the fact that I might have a hiccup to deal with in my life, so I take a deep breath before I go out the door every morning. I don’t ever want to be in a situation where I’m treating a delicate situation any way but delicately. It all goes back to being true to yourself and being consistent.